Recovery program helps heroin-addicted mother following birth of baby

Residential treatment center Alpha Home rehabilitates women

By Tiffany Huertas - Video Journalist

SAN ANTONIO - Crystal Gutierrez had no idea how she would feel welcoming her new baby, Serenitee Neavez Gutierrez.

“I look at her and I thank God that she saved me because I was going down the wrong path,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez went into labor while part of the neonatal abstinence syndrome -- or NAS -- program at Baptist Medical Center. NAS occurs primarily among opioid-exposed infants shortly after birth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I have been through the world and back,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez said she had just done heroin when she arrived at the hospital, but after going into the NAS program, she was placed into a methadone program.

“I’m on 20 milligrams,” Gutierrez said.

As part of the NAS program, she went to a center to help her get better. She left the hospital and went to two recovery facilities before she felt at home, she said.

“I love it,” Gutierrez said. “They made me feel welcomed. They made me feel like they actually care about people and their recovery.”

A new home

Gutierrez went to the Alpha Home, a residential rehab program dedicated to treating women.

“In Alpha Home, 50 percent of our staff are in long-term recovery, and 20 percent of those are alumni of Alpha Home,” CEO Angela White said. “So when people come here they feel like they are in a community that loves them and accepts them.”

Alpha Home offers two homes for women to live in during treatment.

“We want people to be successful. Our aim is for long-term recovery for everybody,” White said.

The average length of stay is 70 days at the Alpha Home. Gutierrez said she met a lot of women like her.

"I feel like they all have their own problems but they don't take it out on nobody else. They deal with it their own kind of way, but a positive way,” Gutierrez said. 

KSAT will follow Crystal during her journey in the NAS Program.

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